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Finding Kukan

doc about Kukan, the first "best documentary feature" (1941), which is considered a lost film, and Li Ling Ai, credited as "technical advisor". the filmmaker makes a case for Li Ling Ai as the true producer. it's a nifty detective story and uses shadow play under some of the narrative, to great effect. Kukan itself was about the second Sino Japanese war and was remarkable for its color footage of the bombing of Nanking, shot at ground level. this doc was chock full of interesting stuff about the lives of Chinese-Americans in the 30s, plus great footage of the director presenting her research to a weeping audience in modern-day Chongqing.

notable comment from Q&A: Kukan wasn't that old and its history has mostly been lost. five of the people interviewed in the film are dead as of this viewing. the director urged us to record our parents and grandparents while we can.

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